It’s clearly the 21st century, because I found out first via Facebook that Iain Duncan-Smith, the UK’s Work and Pensions Secretary (the guy in charge of the government department responsible for social security payments), had resigned.
In the last couple of weeks, his department announced that it would be cutting the Personal Independence Payment (a benefit paid to disabled people who need a bit of financial support to live independently to fund ongoing costs and expenses that able-bodied people just don’t need, such as extra hand rails, walking sticks, visual aids, etc.). This, he assured us, would save the taxpayer £1.5bn. That’s quite a lot of money, and it is the Conservative philosophy to cut taxes where possible.
In the days following this announcement, George Osborne, the chancellor (the guy in charge of the nation’s finances) announced tax cuts for businesses and the moderately wealthy.
Now, whether or not IDS was just using this as an excuse to step down from his prominent front-bench position so he can campaign for the UK to leave the EU is something I am going to decline to speculate on. The reason he cited for leaving was that HM Treasury (Mr Osborne) had kept on at him for years and years to cut his spending and that the recently announced proposal was a cut too far.
I have spoken about IDS before, and expressed astonishment that this man is a Roman Catholic. A man who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Teachings like this one: Matthew 25:31-46. The one where Jesus tells us that we are to care for the sick and the needy. Not as a nice-to-have alongside our showing up at Church every Sunday (which Jesus never told anyone to do), but as a fundamental requirement for entry to Heaven. It is the same reason I have serious doubts about Republicans in the US claiming Christianity.
But this one was a cut too far. Maybe people will begin to realise that a Conservative government’s primary purpose is to take away aid from people whose lives depend on it order to reduce the tax burden for those earning rather more than twice the national average salary.
Yes, you read that right. In order that relatively wealthy people can pay a bit less tax, the government proposed to cut benefit payments that some of our poorest people need in order to feed, clothe and house themselves.
On the subject of Government declining to spend money to save its citizens’ lives, I also saw this piece from LBC radio in which a junior doctor speaks about what is actually happening to the NHS and why the while junior doctors’ thing is not just about them, but it’s about the whole of the NHS and whether or not there is going to be any of it left when we finally kick the Tories out of Westminster.
Welcome, Conservatives! Human decency is officially dead. Who needed British values anyway?